It has taken me eight-and-a-half years, but the cinematic odyssey that began in early 2014 has come to a close.
That was when I purchased the Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection, vowing to review every single movie in the set. I arrogantly assumed I would knock it out in a couple of years. Maybe even under a year! After all, that’s only one movie every week or two.
As it turned out, a rapid start gave way to a much more leisurely pace, thanks to a career / job change and a move up to northern Virginia from my lifelong home of Richmond. Weeks became months became years, and the promise to review every one of these films became slightly more of a burden than a pleasure.
The biggest speed bumps were those epic-length features in the 1960s, like Doctor Zhivago. The prospect of losing the better part of an afternoon to watch a film about which I wasn’t enthusiastic made it all-too-easy to find an excuse to avoid it. That ease of rejection prevented me from resuming my journey when I always had the option of watching a tight, hour-forty-five movie from outside the confines of the collection.
Eventually, I became more intentional about finishing, which led to the more recent rededication to the project.
Now, finally—finally—I am done.
Timely Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 breaks a lukewarm streak for MCU films, partly because it doesn’t fit into the current run of Marvel fare. Instead, it’s both a satisfying conclusion to a distinct trilogy and the true, final epilogue for the Infinity Saga.
There are no references to multiverse incursions or cameos from other Marvel IP to set up the next link in the Phase 4-5-6 chain. Even the post-credits scene is a humorous snippet from Peter Quill’s new life on Earth, rather than an off-ramp into a new adventure connected to a larger story. The film does conclude with a promise that Star-Lord will return, but only in a vague, 007-esque way, not with any specificity or connection to an upcoming film.
Rather, Gunn focuses on completing character arcs, especially that of Rocket Racoon. More on that in a moment. But the out-of-place feel of this MCU entry likely partly owes to the delay caused by Gunn’s firing and eventual rehiring. Vol. 1 came out in 2014, followed by 2017’s Vol. 2. Pre-production on Vol. 3 was well underway in 2018, with Gunn finishing the first draft of the screenplay just weeks before his firing.
Instead of having a film ready to go shortly after Endgame, we waited an additional two or three years for a Gunn-helmed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It was undoubtedly worth the wait, as Gunn was able to bring each of the major characters to a point that felt natural and satisfying.
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